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Many of you are hosting holiday events this month. There is a good chance you are using chafing dish fuel gel to keep food hot. There is a good chance a fair portion of that gel will go unused. There is also a good chance the gel containers will be improperly thrown away. I spoke with several suppliers of what are considered to be eco-friendlier versions of chafing dish fuel gel recently and was a bit shocked when I learned the truth about what hoteliers have been using for years to heat food. One supplier told me 40 percent of fuel gel is typically wasted. It is considered hazardous waste and should be considered as such at the point of disposal. “The hazardous waste is supposed to be disposed of by opening the can, and then removing the content into a hazmat container,” one supplier told me. “The container must be shipped to a hazmat site for disposal.”
Anyone looking for concrete evidence that our industry is going green need look no further than the just released report entitled, “The 2014 Lodging Study Hotel Trends: An Inside Look at Popular Amenities and Guest Services.” The report summarizes the results of a survey of more than 9,600 hoteliers. The American Hotel & Lodging Assn., along with STR, produced the survey that was funded by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation. Green Lodging News has reported in the past on this same survey that is generated every two years. If you are an AH&LA member you can get a complete copy of the survey results at no cost. Otherwise, the cost is $1,500 for all of the results or $300 for each individual data point. See the article I posted this past week for details. Among the survey questions were many that have something to do with environmental initiatives.
It is amazing, isn’t it, how expensive printer cartridges are. The profit margin on them has got to be incredible. I think about that every time I have to replace a cartridge. A few cartridge purchases almost equals the cost of the printer itself. This past week I wrote and posted an article on remanufactured printer cartridges. Be sure to read it. Remanufactured (a.k.a. reengineered) cartridges, guaranteed to work just as well as new ones, can save you a lot of money and significantly reduce the flow of cartridge waste to the landfill. According to Tech-Optics Inc., a remanufacturer, distributer and seller of toner cartridges for laser jet printers, every year, approximately 400 million cartridges are thrown away. A typical cartridge takes 1,000 years to decompose. Each laser cartridge consists of 2.5 pounds of plastic, along with rubber, steel and aluminum.
This past week I posted an article on Denver’s historic Brown Palace Hotel. The 241-room property has quickly distinguished itself as one of the most ambitious green hotels in the United States. The property won the Good Earthkeeping Award in 2013 from the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Assn. and the Good Earthkeeping Award in 2014 from the American Hotel and Lodging Assn. While the property has had bee hives on its roof since 2009, it really has only been the last couple of years that the hotel has gotten its other green efforts in gear. Hotel management made a smart move a little more than two years ago by hiring Brenna St. Onge as Executive Housekeeper. Brenna had been an eco-champion at properties she previously worked at and was eager to energize efforts at the Brown Palace Hotel.
While geared toward gauging consumer reaction to green product claims, a study recently released by UL Environment and conducted by Shelton Group also sheds light, I believe, on how consumers are most likely to react to hotel property green certification claims. In the study, “Under the Lens: Claiming Green, The Influence of Green Product Claims on Purchase Intent and Brand Perception,” 1,017 consumers were presented with a series of visual comparisons in which a problematic claim was paired with a legitimate claim or a certified claim. An example of a problematic claim was language on a product that can easily be perceived as greenwashing. A legitimate claim included credible language on a product but the information was not certified by a third party. A certified claim was one substantiated by a third party.
This past week I attended the annual International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) in New York City. It is a show I have attended almost every year since starting in the lodging business in 1989. For those of you who have never attended, the show is one of our industry’s largest annual markets and runs in conjunction with Boutique Design New York (BDNY). Together, IHMRS and BDNY this year drew 13,017 trade professionals, an increase of 5 percent from the 12,406 last year. IHMRS this year was sectioned into areas covering green, kitchen design, operations, tabletop and technology. On the BDNY side, attendees could expect to find everything from artwork to furniture to lighting—just about anything of interest to a designer involved in a new hotel or renovation. The Hospitality Green Division of IHMRS was presented in partnership with Green Lodging News. Hospitality Media Group, the manager of IHMRS and BDNY, was the other partner.
The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation has released a new research study, “The Future of Financing Advanced Energy Efficient Building Equipment.” The paper, somewhat of a “Financing 101” for building upgrades, defines the growing building energy efficiency market, specifically focusing on project finance for retrofits in commercial buildings; outlines the major drivers and barriers of the industry; examines the latest financing mechanisms; and reviews the newest technologies that are moving the building sector towards a more efficient future. I highly recommend reading the study if you are planning to finance upgrades to your property—many of you I suspect. The study outlines three financing models of current importance: Energy Service Agreements (ESA) and Managed Energy Service Agreements (MESA); On-Bill Financing (OBF); and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).
The second annual Lodging Green & Sustainability Conference + Expo wrapped up in Las Vegas this past week. The event was held at the LEED Gold certified ARIA Resort & Casino. About 230 attended the event that was organized primarily by Lodging Magazine with assistance from EcoGreen Energy Solutions, Green Lodging News and NEWH. I attended last year’s event in Dallas. This year’s conference and expo attracted about 50 to 60 more people. The growth was noticeable and was exciting to see. The three-day event was packed with educational sessions, a master class on “Waste Management Innovation,” a tour of the ARIA Resort & Casino (see my blog post), networking opportunities with exhibitors, and the event’s first award presentation and dinner. Covering the conference as a reporter was challenging as each session was packed with highly relevant, newsworthy content and on several occasions there were three sessions held simultaneously.
Greenview has released another report—this one entitled “Green Venue Report 2014—The State of Convention Center Sustainability.” It was produced in partnership with Twirl Management. The study’s organizers aim to answer the following questions in the report: What are the individual and collective footprints (positive and negative) of events taking place within convention centers? What are best practices in the industry that more convention centers (and their event organizer clients) can benefit from? What innovative efforts by convention centers should be recognized and celebrated? According to Cara Unterkofler, Director, Greenview, a total of 37 convention centers, all of which were in the United States and Canada, were approached and invited to participate in a 108-question survey. The questions covered topics ranging from energy to waste to water to communications. Only 16 convention centers were able to complete the survey.
This past Tuesday (October 14), the Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association honored hotels and allied businesses that are leading the adoption of sustainable hospitality practices at its 2nd Annual Sustainable Hospitality Awards. The event took place at the InterContinental Miami and I was asked to be a guest speaker at the event. Approximately 120 people attended. It was fun watching each of the award winners receive their awards—in categories ranging from Energy Efficiency & Conservation to Communication & Education. There is nothing like an awards ceremony to get folks charged up about sustainability. I have been seeing an increasing number of green lodging/tourism awards programs pop up lately. Lodging Magazine will be presenting awards in five categories at its Lodging Green + Sustainability Conference + Expo later this month. The Hotel Association of New York City organized a competition for three sustainability awards this year.
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